Bridgton, ME. Over twenty people gave back to the hiking trails on Pleasant Mountain to celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1. Loon Echo Land Trust (LELT), who owns and protects over 2,000 acres on Pleasant Mountain and manages the ten-mile trail network, hosted the trail work day.
Members from the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club, scouts from Troop 71 and members of Run for the Hills Run Club all joined in to give back to the trails. Volunteers focused their efforts on the Bald Peak and Sue’s Way trails; clearing drainage structures to keep water from pooling on the trails and helping brush in ‘social trails’. In addition, the volunteers helped move the Bald Peak Trail Kiosk and a donation tube from the old Bald Peak trail head to the new trail head a few hundred feet away.
“Thousands of people hike our Pleasant Mountain trails every year,” said LELT Executive Director, Matt Markot. “Without our dedicated volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to provide a quality hiking experience for visitors while simultaneously protecting the natural systems on Pleasant Mountain.”
National Trails Day, hosted annually by the American Hiking Society, aims to bring recognition to the incredible benefits trails provide for recreation, access to the outdoors, and general well-being. To celebrate, individuals are encouraged to give back to the trails they use by picking up litter or attending a trail work day.
In total, LELT maintains over 31 miles of hiking and biking trails on their ten preserves. With only one staff member to cover all their land, LELT relies on their volunteers to complete some of the trail maintenance and monitoring. The Land Trust has a robust trail adoption program where groups or individuals maintain the trails and report hazards to LELT staff 3 or 4 times a year. LELT also hosts volunteer trail work days to provide folks with an opportunity to learn more about the process.
“No experience is necessary to join our trail work days,” said LELT’s Stewardship Manager Jon Evans. “Our volunteers and staff provide clear expectations, training and tools when needed.”
If you’re interested in volunteering with Loon Echo Land Trust, sign up here or give us a call at 207-647-4352.